BY PETER ECCLESTON, CULTURE EDITOR
The very first production directed by the Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things” debuted last July. In typical Netflix Original fashion, all of the episodes were released at once to allow eager fans to binge watch it. The show is a combination of horror, drama and mystery. (If you’re worried about ruining the series for yourself by reading this review, don’t worry. This review is spoiler-free.)
Set in a small town in the ‘80s, our story begins the night a young boy disappears after being chased by something… strange. In order to find the boy, it will take the efforts of the boy’s family, the sheriff and the boy’s friends in order to discover the mysterious circumstances of that night.
The special effects are among the most disgusting and horrifying special effects I have seen in any horror movie—in a good way. The monster in this series might as well be ripped directly from one of your night terrors. It’s a sneaky monster, so when it finally attacks, you don’t know where it is coming from. This makes the jump scares throughout this series legitimately frightening and not just cheap shots at horror.
What’s more is that the mystery of the series is thoroughly engaging. The series gives you enough hints about the true nature of what’s going on to make you want to know more. However, every reveal leads to even more questions. In fact, the series makes a point about ending episodes on cliffhangers that almost force you to binge watch the series. To make matters worse, the main characters of this show travel in isolated groups, separate from each other. So, one group could hold the answer the other group needs, and they never get together for multiple episodes.
However, the most compelling aspect of “Stranger Things” is the cast of characters and the efforts of the actors to portray them. You couldn’t have asked for a better group of talented actors. Even the child actors manage to play very important and engaging parts in the overall story. The series does an outstanding job of portraying the real-life effects that an abduction of a child can have on the community around it. You can really feel the pain and confusion of the main characters who all suffer from the loss of the child in the beginning. Winona Ryder, who plays the missing boy’s mother, shows the torment a mother goes through with the loss of a child.
But the series is not without issues. One of the largest issues is caused by the mystery of the series itself. With three or four groups of main heroes working on this mystery, sometimes a group will find information that could help another. The kicker is that each group doesn’t know that there are other groups working on the same problem they are.
Another issue caused by the mystery of the series is the constant cliffhangers at the end of each episode. It is especially upsetting for someone who is not looking to binge watch this series to have a very terrifying cliffhanger at the end of each episode to goad you into watching more. it is frustrating when you need to take a break from binge watching and the last scene you see is one of the main characters getting chased by something in the dark.
However, despite these issues, does “Stranger Things” deliver on a stellar ending? Absolutely. The ending of this series is more than worth the wait, with unexpected twists and turns, high stakes and likeable characters going through hair-raising ordeals. If you are at all a fan of series with high drama, suspense and mystery, then do yourself a favor and check out this series as soon as possible, at least before the second season comes out in 2017.